A Life Lived Like This

(Photo by Selma Komisky)

A Life Lived Like This

By Marta Oliveira

On a certain day, maybe by an audible voice or by a dream (1), God spoke to Abraham and asked him ‘Please take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom I know you dearly love, and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him up to me as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will show you’ (2). The next thing told in this story is that Abraham rose up early the next morning, made the necessary preparations and, taking a donkey, two servants and his son, set out on a three day journey to the place God had shown him. No one except Abraham knew that the purpose of this road trip was to offer his son as a sacrifice. Upon arrival, seeing the mountain afar off, he left the servants behind with the donkey and said ‘Stay here. Isaac and I will go up and worship’ (3). This is actually the first time ‘worship’ is mentioned in the entire Bible.

The story is about God testing the faith of Abraham. However, Abraham’s obedience, which required an unthinkable sacrifice, is about worshiping God. The two are intrinsically connected: worship involves sacrifice. It is inspiring to see Abraham’s determination to obey. When we read, we have the impression he didn’t even think twice. He just woke up, prepared himself, and off he went. The whole thing gains even more weight if you read about the life of Abraham in the book of Genesis, and learn the circumstances in which Isaac was born. He was the ‘son of the promise,’ born miraculously when Sarah was about 90 and Abraham 100 years old – way past childbearing age! Through Isaac, God had promised to bless them with as many descendants as the stars in the sky! (4) So on the altar of sacrifice, Abraham was about to lay down his son, whom he loved so much, and with him, the promise he had received from God…

You see, the things God asks from us, may cost us a lot, if not everything. He may ask us to sacrifice time and resources. To give up old dreams or follow new ones. Sometimes, to sever unhealthy relationships or to restore broken ones. Always, to acknowledge Him as our Lord with the ‘fruit of our lips’, which Paul refers to as ‘sacrifices of praise’ (5). Ultimately, He requires that we give up our will for His will, so that He may be glorified in our transformed lives. This may sound crazy or too radical. But when you know how good God is and how much He loves you, what He has done for you and what He still wants to do, the only proper response is to surrender your entire life to Him as a sacred, living sacrifice (6). As Paul says in Romans 12, a life lived like this ‘becomes your genuine expression of worship’(6). And in fact, you were designed for it. You were made to worship God, to live in holiness, set apart for Him. So don’t shy away from a life lived like this, but completely embrace it. Don’t be afraid to lose your life in this way. Exactly the opposite will happen. Just listen closely to what Jesus says in Matthew 10:39 and believe the words of the One who sacrificed His own life for you:

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.”

Abraham trusted God so much that when he ordered the servants to stay down at the mountain’s feet, he said ‘we will return to you’ (7). Not I will, but we. He was confident that Isaac would return with him, even if God had to bring him back from the dead (8). That wasn’t necessary, for at the last minute, when Abraham was already holding a knife to kill Isaac, the Angel of the Lord stopped him and instead, provided a ram for the sacrifice. As a reflection of God’s faithfulness, Abraham names that place ‘Jehovah Jireh’, meaning ‘The Lord Will Provide’, and to this day it is said ‘On the mountain of the Lord it shall be provided’ (9). Let us then be encouraged by Abraham’s faith and trust God as he did. Let us then say ‘Yes’ everytime God invites us to climb whatever mountain, resting assured that we will meet Him there, and there ‘The Lord Will Provide.’


(1) Genesis 22:1 TPT

(2) Genesis 22:2 TPT

(3) Genesis 22:5 TPT

(4) Genesis 15:5

(5) Hebrews 13:15

(6)Romans 12:1 TPT

(7) Genesis 22:5 TPT

(8) Hebrews 11:19

(9) Genesis 22:11-14